Although my principal early career focus was in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science, my first appointment at Queen’s University was in the philosophy of science. I taught my first class in the philosophy of biology while there more than twenty years ago, and have maintained both research and teaching interests there since that time. My most recent interests cluster around anthropology and kinship, eugenics, the interface between mind and biology, and biological individuality; I have recently completed a book manuscript, Relative Beings, on kinship that I hope to see published in 2018. My coauthors in this general area include two outstanding former graduate students, Matthew Barker and Joshua St. Pierre.
Chief topics and themes:
- philosophical anthropology; kinship; explanations of incest avoidance
- essentialism in biology, the nature of species, levels of natural selection, group-level cognition, organisms
- explanation, pluralism, natural kinds, realism
- eugenics / newgenics, bioenhancement, sorts of people
- 2018, The Eugenic Mind Project. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Here is the finalized table of contents and the first chapter.
- Genes and the Agents of Life: The Individual in the Fragile Sciences: Biology, 2005, Cambridge University Press. 312 pp. Hard & paperback, 2005.
- Species: New Interdisciplinary Essays, 1999. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. Editor. x + 325 pp., 12 original, commissioned essays. Hard & paperback, 1999.
- 2020, “Rethinking Incest Avoidance: Beyond the Disciplinary Groove of Culture-First Views”, Biological Theory. 10 000 words. To appear in a special issue, “Rethinking the Evolution of Kinship”. Link
- 2019, “Eugenics Undefended”, Monash Bioethics Reviews. First online, 19 July, 2019: Link
- 2019, “Review of Agents and Goals in Evolution”, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, in press. Link
- 2019, “Incest, Incest Avoidance, and Attachment: Revisiting the Westermarck Effect”, Philosophy of Science. 86 (July 2019) pp. 391–411. Link
- 2019, (with Matthew J. Barker) “Biological Individuals”, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. This is a revised version of “Biological Notion of Individual”. Link
- 2016, “Thinking about Relations: Strathern, Sahlins, and Locke on Anthropological Knowledge”, Anthropological Theory 16 (4), pp.327-349 [Appears with a reply from Marilyn Strathern] Link Reply
- 2016, “Kinship Past, Kinship Present: Bio-Essentialism and the Study of Kinship”, American Anthropologist 118 (3), pp.570-584. Link
- 2010, “Cohesion, Gene Flow, and the Nature of Species” (with Matthew J. Barker), Journal of Philosophy, CVII (2), pp.59-77. Link
- 2004, “Recent Work in Individualism in the Social, Behavioural and Biological Sciences”, Biology and Philosophy, 19 (June 2004), pp.397-423. Link
- 2005, “Collective Memory, Group Minds, & the Extended Mind Thesis”, special issue Cognitive Processing, 6 (December 2005), pp. 227-236.
- 2004, “Test Cases, Resolvability, and Group Selection: A Critical Examination of the Myxoma Case”, Philosophy of Science 71 (July 2004), pp. 380-401. Link
- 2003, “Pluralism, Entwinement, and the Levels of Selection”, Philosophy of Science 70 (July 2003), pp.531-552. Link
- 2001, “Group-Level Cognition”, Philosophy of Science 68 (2001 supp.), S262-S273. Link
- 2000, “Some Problems for ‘Alternative Individualism’ “, Philosophy of Science 67 (December 2000), pp.671-679.
- 1996, “Promiscuous Realism”, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (June 1996), pp.303-316.
Other Papers and Articles
- 2017, “Contemporary Forms of Eugenics”, eLS Wiley Online Library. Link
- 2017, “Eugenics and Philosophy”, Oxford Bibliographies. http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780195396577/obo-9780195396577-0350.xml Subscription needed for full access; annotated list of 160 articles. Link
- 2016, “Eugenics and Disability” (with Joshua St. Pierre), in Patrick Devlieger, Beatriz Mirandaa-Galarza, Steven E. Brown and Megan Strickfaden (eds.)Rethinking Disability: World Perspectives in Culture and Society. Antwerp: Garant Publishing), pp.93-112. Link
- 2015, “The Role of Oral History in Surviving a Eugenic Past”, in Steven High (ed.), Beyond Testimony and Trauma: Oral History in the Aftermath of Mass Violence. Vancouver, BC: University of British Columbia Press, pp.119-138. Link
- 2014, “Eugenics: positive vs negative”, entry for Encyc at eugenicsarchive.ca.
- 2014, “Sorts of People”, entry for Encyc at eugenicsarchive.ca.
- 2014, “Science, role of”, entry for Encyc at eugenicsarchive.ca.
- 2014, “Family Studies”, entry for Encyc at eugenicsarchive.ca.
- 2014, “Sociobiology”, entry for Encyc at eugenicsarchive.ca.
- 2014, “Eugenic Traits”, entry for Encyc at eugenicsarchive.ca.
- 2014, “Eugenics”, central node for Connections at eugenicsarchive.ca.
- 2012, “The Biological Notion of Individual” (with Matthew J. Barker), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/biology-individual/
- 2010, “The Primal Path to Kinship: A Critical Review of Bernard Chapais, Primeval Kinship (Harvard University Press, 2008), Biology and Philosophy 25 (1), pp.111-123. Link
- 2002, “I, Primate”, Biology and Philosophy 17, pp.285-299. Extended review of Sarah Hrdy’s Mother Nature: A History of Mothers, Infants, and Natural Selection. (Pantheon Books, 1999) and Shirley Strum and Linda Fedigan’s Primate Encounters: Models of Science, Gender, and Society. (U of Chicago Press, 2000). Link
- 2007, “When Traditional Essentialism Fails: Biological Natural Kinds” (with Matthew J. Barker and Ingo Brigandt), invited paper for issue of Philosophical Topics 35 (1 and 2): 189-215. Link
- 2007, “Social Reality and Institutional Facts: Sociality Within and Without Intentionality”, in Savas L. Tsohatzidis (ed.), Intentional Acts and Institutional Facts: Essays on John Searle’s Social Ontology (Dordrecht: Springer), 139-153. Link
- 2007, “Levels of Selection”, in Mohan Matthen and Christopher Stevens (eds), Handbook of the Philosophy of Science, Volume 3, Philosophy of Biology, Elsevier, pp.155-176.
- 1999, “The Individual in Biology and Psychology”, in Valerie G. Hardcastle (ed.), Where Biology Meets Psychology: Philosophical Essays. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp.357-74.
- 1999, “Realism, Essence, and Kind: Resuscitating Species Essentialism? “, in R.A. Wilson (ed.), Species: New Interdisciplinary Essays. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp.187-207. Link
- 1999, “Introduction”, in R.A. Wilson (ed.), Species: New Interdisciplinary Essays. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp.ix-xvii. Link